Drano Bombs A Safety Concern for Local Communities

Recently there has been a rise in teens making plastic-bottle bombs. While kids call the plastic-bottle bombs "science experiments," the police have another descriptor -- dangerous. The chemical reaction bombs go by a number of names. Sometimes called a "works bomb," the "plastic bottle bombs" are also known as "drano bombs."


This has been going on since the 90s, but these IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) a term closely tied to the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars are typically assembled by teen-aged boys, and are very simple to make. The bombs can be made in about 5 minutes from common cleaners under the kitchen sink.


The how-to for this particular type of “bomb” is being passed around via text, Facebook, and other social media sites. Over that past month (summertime for teens) there has been a rise not only in the Greater Philadelphia area, but also in places like York Township Michigan and Methuen Massachusetts.


It reads more like an urban legend, one of those hard-to-believe stories that drop into your e-mail inbox (as this story was forwarded to me), but it’s no laughing matter. Plastic “Drano” bottle bombs are a real threat and some people find pleasure in exploding them for fun or leaving them in mailboxes or yards where, if disturbed, they can explode in about 30 seconds, severing fingers and causing second- and third-degree burns on the skin.


By just pouring a little store-bought Drano (a product used to unclog drains), water, and a small piece of foil into a plastic bottle and you have your IED. Secure the lid and shake. Within seconds, the mixture explodes. Don’t believe a bomb can be made that easily?


Just watch this YouTube video made by two engineers.



What occurs when the items are mixed together is a chemical reaction that causes the liquid to boil. Pressure builds inside the bottle and it quickly explodes causing acid and plastic bottle parts to spew. That acid can cause serious burns, blindness and can be toxic if the fumes are inhaled.


A local State Police Officer from Hamburg County Michigan has this to say about the recent "pranks":

I want to make you aware of a recent incident that occurred in York Twp. This type of incident directly affects your safety as well as your children's safety. This morning, at approximately 8:00 am, I was dispatched to an address, on Bemis Rd near the Saline City Limits, for an unexploded pop bottle bomb. When I arrived, I noticed a 20 ounce pop bottle, on the ground, in the callers front yard.

After I inspected it closer, I determined that it was in fact a "Works" Bomb. I was able to clear the device away from the house and once I moved it, it detonated itself within 30 seconds. After leaving that house, I checked other yards in the area during my patrols. I located a second one, just a few doors down from the first one. As I took care of the disposal/detonation, the homeowner came out and asked me what it was.

When I showed her what it was, she immediately told me that she saw the bottle and that she had planned on picking it up when she got her morning paper. Like the first one, once I moved it, it detonated in short order. There was a high probability that this would have detonated in her hand/face while she carried it to the trash.


He continues:

Please educate your children on the dangers and consequences of making these devices. It has become popular with the youth in the past few years, to do this as a prank, but there have been some changes to the law. Not only could it be deadly to the maker or the victim, but making one these devices is called, "Possession of a Substance with Explosive Capabilities". If it causes no damage, it's a 15 year Felony. If it causes damage, it's a 20 year Felony. If it causes physical injury, it's a 25 year Felony. If it causes serious injury, the penalty can be "Up to life", and if it causes death, its Mandatory Life without the possibility of Parole. These are statutory guidelines only. These penalties are what could be imposed but it does not necessarily mean that these penalties would be imposed.


What do you think about these "pranks"? Let me know comments!

Posted via email from Neville's Blog

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